Podcast: Dental X-Rays and Brain Tumors-A Sensible Response

April 14, 2012

A new study that showed a link between a yearly dental x-ray and meningioma must have sent a shiver down many a spine. Here, oral medicine specialist Dr Jeff Burgess offers guidance about what to think, and how to respond when a concerned patient asks.

A study in the journal Cancer has sparked headlines-and headaches-by identifying an association between regular annual “bitewing” dental x-rays or panoramic x-rays and meningioma. The association was particularly strong for children who had panoramic x-rays before age 10.

Here, oral medicine specialist Dr Jeff Burgess offers insights that may help you respond to questions from concerned patients or from parents. Dr Burgess, who is now retired from practice and contributing regularly to WebMD as well as to ConsultantLive, was a Research and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral Medicine at the University of Washington Dental School and an attending clinician at the UW Medical Center's Pain Center.

 The questions:

1. What do you make of this study? Is it worth all the attention it has been getting?
2. What are the differences between this and a prior study on the same topic?
3. Would it be a good idea for physicians to inquire into their patients’ dental history?
4. Is there anything that dentists should do differently because of this study? 

Dental X-Rays and Brain Tumors-A Sensible Response

Resources:

Dental X-rays Linked to Brain TumorsWebMD, April 10, 2012